You're a week old today. I could write a ten thousand page novel about you and what I have learned so far in these seven days as your mama. There would be a chapter dedicated to your left ear. Four or five chapters would chronicle the way you move your hands. Twenty-five to thirty chapters would discuss in detail your facial expressions. The introduction would be long, maybe a book itself, in which I would thank many people. Your dad, Grandma and the fabulous team of doctors, midwives and nurses who ensured your safe passage at the top of the list. Yes, a novel, the longest book ever, I could write about what it feels like to have you in my life.
But instead, we're going to stick to a letter. Someday you'll read this and many others like it and I hope that you will see a mama who loved you beyond measure and also a woman who was more than just a mama. You'll learn about your life through my eyes and that may help you understand me. Writing these letters will help me make sense of both of us.
So first things first - you're beautiful. Stunningly beautiful. I knew you'd be cute. Babies are cute! But you came out pretty. Dad and I spent the first few days just staring at you and remarking on your tiny exquisite-ness. I know that focusing on looks with little girls is considered bad business, but Ellerie, it's true. And don't worry, you are also ferociously strong and your personality is equally gorgeous, if not more so. You're almost regal in your actions and emotions. You cry a substantial and solid cry when you're hungry, but aside from that you're just calm. And mighty. And have this hilarious air about you that somehow portrays wisdom.
I call you The Conductor. When you are quiet and alert (which is often, sweet one!), you wave your arms with grace and flair. You have skinny little arms and long long fingers and they sway around like you're asking for just a tad more violin. And now you'd appreciate just a bit more from the horn section. Sometimes your eyes are open but often you'll close them as you wave about, like you're really straining to hear this music only you can direct. It's fascinating to watch. But then again, you are fascinating to watch.
I am able to appreciate all of this because you're eating. You're a champion eater which makes you a champion sleeper which makes you a relatively easy baby at week one. This makes me want to fall on my knees and thank God. I think when they wheeled me out of that OR and placed you on my belly - God took one look at your drugged and exhausted mama and thought, "Let's throw her a bone." I was numb from the upper waist down and I begged the nurse beside me to help me get undressed and get you on my chest for some skin to skin time. You were making sucking faces so I offered you my breast. You latched immediately and your little chin bobbed up and down. It was amazing, sweet girl. Simply amazing. Truly the bright spot in a long and hard day for mama.
It took a few days for my milk to come in. And at the hospital you lost weight which they, of course, considered a Real Problem. I, however, considered the fact that you were crying and hungry and I didn't have enough food for you in my body yet a Real Problem. I realized (after a quick cry in the hospital shower) that the fact that I wanted you to only have breastmilk was a Pretend Problem. So mama quickly learned how to pump and dad quickly learned how to feed you a mix of formula and my pumped colostrum with a little tube and syringe at the breast. You kept doing what you were born to do and suckled like a champ. As a three person team, we got through those first few days and nights. Now you can't quite keep up with all the milk I'm making. But that's okay. We'll figure it out. As long as we keep the focus on the Real Problems and release the Pretend Problems it will all even out.
Ellerie, I have so many wishes for your great big life. First, of course, is that you stay healthy and safe. Thoughts about your health and safety take up such a huge part of my brain now, I can't figure out what they must have displaced. Maybe math skills? Maybe the desire to ever straighten my hair again? Maybe any interest over what celebrity wore it better? But after health, sweet girl, I hope and pray and wish that you find love. You will always know love. Dad and I and all your extended family will make sure of that. But I hope you find a partner to share in your special life. In this past week, my heart expanded 1000 times to take you in, but it also exploded with love for your dad. I want you to know this sort of love. This romantic, wonderful, deep and unconditional love for the person you choose to be your partner. You don't have to get married. Please know, you don't have to do anything. I just hope you will be blessed with this sort of magic someday. And with your dad as an example, I think we're set.
Whew, that is a lot to take in on week one, Ellerie. Mama is bursting at the seams with thoughts (and literally bursting in the chest with milk). "It's a haze!" everyone says, but after all those drugs at the hospital, being home feels like the opposite of a haze. Right now, the picture is clear and you're front and center. I am so inspired by you.
I love you. Keep growing.
yours forever, Mama.